Tech ‘n Tots is a technology focused support program that is designed to expand and enhance a child’s access to play and communication through the use of hi tech and low tech tools and materials. Collaboration with parents and other professionals who work with the child is a central function of this program as well. Services are offered in settings ranging from home to social developmental peer groups. Program curricula will explore strategies that support emerging developmental skills through the use of augmentative devices that assist the child’s efforts in his or her overall interactive experiences. Although the tablet technology is the most predominantly used tool at this time due to its popularity and familiarity across our diverse family population (ipads, kindle, smart phones etc…) low tech mediums such as: icons/photos, signs and gestures, texture and touch cues, voice output and basic cause and effect toys are also used to balance out and translate “screen time” experience into practical experience.
Long term benefits of the skills acquired through the TnT program enable a child to have greater participation at home, school and in their community, promote interpersonal and social interaction, reduce frustration and behavioral/sensory challenges associated with a failure to anticipate transitions or to be understood, enhance language comprehension and support expressive language development.
Using the ARTech tools is a concrete way to highlight how creative and expressive any child can be when given the right tools. Computer technologies bring the possibility of creative expression to those with limited ability to use traditional art-making tools. A simple swipe of a finger and a child begins the process of making art. But these technologies don’t replace the need for caregiver support, attention and encouragement. We, as professionals, must model how we can use the technology to enhance interaction and strengthen the relationship, not replace it. This actually goes for all technology now prevalent in the lives of young children.